Object #1021903 from MS-Papers-0032-0816

9 pages written 10 Jan 1858 by Annabella McLean in Edinburgh to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward family correspondence - Annabella McLean (sister), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0816 (50 digitised items). Letters written from Scotland (Edinburgh, Glenorchy Manse, Stranraer) prior to her arrival in New Zealand in Jan 1864 on the Wild Duck; afterwards from Maraekakaho, Napier and Wellington. One letter was written in Sep 1858 during a visit to her sister Flora Ann Conway in North Wales.

A transcription/translation of this document (by MD) appears below.

Download alow-resolution PDF or high-resolution PDF

Page 1 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

10 January [1858?]

Springfield House nr Edinburgh

My dear brother

Since the Session commenced I have been so completely engrossed with studies that I laid aside all correspondence which is now my first duty to resume during this week of holidays. Today our teachers bade us all an affectionate goodbye until such time as we should meet again on the 5th of Jany. I felt more sad than others with this interruption to our studies. Others of the young ladies hailed it with delight looking forward to going home to enjoy the pleasures of the Christmas season which

Page 2 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

I suppose you will observe in the Antipodes as jovially as is done at home. Time flies here so rapidly that even the day seems too short to overtake the numerous tasks we have to prepare for the respective masters. I rise every morning at six, practice my music from seven till eight, German class for an hour, breakfast & prayers, drawing for an hour then English class with Mr Young, a most delightful teacher. He combines so many interesting facts with his explanations that it is quite a pleasure to listen to him. We get a number of very difficult exercises in composition to do which I like very much. I wrote an essay lately upon nature with which he expressed himself very much pleased and I am at present writing one upon the late war in the Crimea, also a poem upon Christmas. We are with him from ten till twelve. Twelve to one French then writing & arithmetic which I do not attend. Three times a week we go out to a French master for lessons in dancing and deportment which has greatly improved me but it is rather expensive. I have experienced the benefit of the advantages I am at present receiving this winter already being invited to a number of gay parties which I enjoyed very much and has the prospect of being at number more. I was at a large dinner party on Christmas Day the two evenings & before at evening supper parties which was so delightfully

Page 3 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

pleasant. Catherine made me the present of a beautiful white dress and wreath which looked so pretty. I spend the Saturdays with a kind family who know a number of Highlanders and there I met with a number of Gaelic students & where I do get such fun. They tease me so about forgetting my Gaelic language. I tell them not to distress themselves in the least about that as I shall very soon forget how to speak English as there is not a word talked in my present abode but French & German and all who are caught speaking English get the punishment of parading through the schoolroom before all the young ladies with a medal of disobedience suspended around our necks and as I have no wish to

Page 4 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

bear such a distinguishable badge of honour I endeavour to "Parle Francais autant que je puis". The German though I like it extremely I really can't overtake it make any satisfactory progress. It is so difficult and requires so much time to study & so many little pleasant incidents occur in my short life I try to store them all up in my memory and say to myself Oh how much I should like to tell this to my brother my thoughts somehow or other are daily holding some nonsensicall conversation that I almost feel as if I were already safely transplanted with the Antipodes. Sweet, sweet, are the pleasures of hope and the bright immagining

Page 5 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

of loffty imagination from having to write and striving to be able in some measure to realise your expectations in my improvement. It makes me think and feel as if actually you were the only person upon earth that I had an object in life for and fancy that whatever tends to amuse or gratify me I should have the same effect upon you and wish I could just tell you everything that concerns my pleasures & disappointment. The latter like all people who give way to building "castles in the air". I frequently meet with which must be borne patiently with for without them we would begin to forget the most important duty of our existence which is to glorify our Divine Maker by living a life of devoted piety and living as an example to those who have not had Gospel privileges which we enjoy and as far as in our power lies to strive and cultivate a missionary spirit of holy love piety to do good to our fellow creatures especially those who have not had the light revelation is bountifully bestowed upon them as we have which God in his all wisdom may perhaps now appear to our limited comprehension an impenetrable mystery why so many of ones fellow creatures

Page 6 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

should be without the greatest of all blessings the word of inspiration from which we derive our hope for the enjoyment of everlasting peace through the atonement made at Calvary for all who through grace can discern with an eye of [crossed out] faith ... love. The awful sacrifice made without which we as poor sinful lost perishable souls could have no hope beyond the justice of an offended Jehovah.

When sitting quietly one afternoon writing this letter and several others Lady Boswell's daughter Mrs Nassal called upon me to come off immediately with her in the coach to attend my sister Catherine who was laid up with a

Page 7 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

severe attack of rheumatic fever and here I am watching by her bedside of extreme suffering with much anxiety though the Dr says it is not going to be a tedious attack still her acute pains seem to be reducing her constitution which is not very robust to a serious extent. The kindness of her dear old lady is unbounded and all the other members of the family. Everything that can possibly be thought or heard of to alleviate her distress is instantly procured. It is impossible for me to express sufficiently their assiduous untiring attention & occurring during the holidays I have not yet lost many of my lessons. The Dr said today that he thought towards the end of the week she would be able to leave her room merely for a short time so as to get change of air. I will then feel more

Page 8 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

at liberty to leave her and begin my duties. I wrote Uncle to enquire if he had any prospect of being in Edinburgh this winter that he might have an opportunity of seeing and hearing how I was progressing which to you would be more gratifying to hear from him than either of us to which he gratefully replied by giving me a kind invitation to Glenorchy as he does not expect soon to be in town. The most correct way of informing you how I am circumstance is by sending a circular of the school which C has had in her possession for some months and it has got a little soiled of course I do not attend all the masters that are there mentioned nor do I pay quite so high a board. Cath says that she thinks I will be quite long enough there at the end of this quarter but I should like to remain till you or one of my brothers sent for me to go to NZ. We had cheering accounts from Archy lately and we are all very much relieved to hear that he seems to have found as an agreeable employment as sailing on the uncertain billows of the fearless ocean. I wish very much that his wife were enabled to join him soon for she is such a sensible prudent person and one whom I know you yourself would value much. It is necessary to have an economical housewife to superintend

Page 9 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

in the household affairs of a farm. Now my dear brother this letter is hurriedly and improperly written but I cannot write in order it is late at night and I am very very tired and also the mail goes tomorrow. Wishing yourself and dear little Douglas the usual happy compliments of the season, I remain
My dear brother

Your fondly attached


Annabella McLean

The old address is the more correct
13 Howe Street
Edinburgh

English (MD)

10 January [1858?]

Springfield House nr Edinburgh

My dear brother

Since the Session commenced I have been so completely engrossed with studies that I laid aside all correspondence which is now my first duty to resume during this week of holidays. Today our teachers bade us all an affectionate goodbye until such time as we should meet again on the 5th of Jany. I felt more sad than others with this interruption to our studies. Others of the young ladies hailed it with delight looking forward to going home to enjoy the pleasures of the Christmas season which I suppose you will observe in the Antipodes as jovially as is done at home. Time flies here so rapidly that even the day seems too short to overtake the numerous tasks we have to prepare for the respective masters. I rise every morning at six, practice my music from seven till eight, German class for an hour, breakfast & prayers, drawing for an hour then English class with Mr Young, a most delightful teacher. He combines so many interesting facts with his explanations that it is quite a pleasure to listen to him. We get a number of very difficult exercises in composition to do which I like very much. I wrote an essay lately upon nature with which he expressed himself very much pleased and I am at present writing one upon the late war in the Crimea, also a poem upon Christmas. We are with him from ten till twelve. Twelve to one French then writing & arithmetic which I do not attend. Three times a week we go out to a French master for lessons in dancing and deportment which has greatly improved me but it is rather expensive. I have experienced the benefit of the advantages I am at present receiving this winter already being invited to a number of gay parties which I enjoyed very much and has the prospect of being at number more. I was at a large dinner party on Christmas Day the two evenings & before at evening supper parties which was so delightfully pleasant. Catherine made me the present of a beautiful white dress and wreath which looked so pretty. I spend the Saturdays with a kind family who know a number of Highlanders and there I met with a number of Gaelic students & where I do get such fun. They tease me so about forgetting my Gaelic language. I tell them not to distress themselves in the least about that as I shall very soon forget how to speak English as there is not a word talked in my present abode but French & German and all who are caught speaking English get the punishment of parading through the schoolroom before all the young ladies with a medal of disobedience suspended around our necks and as I have no wish to bear such a distinguishable badge of honour I endeavour to "Parle Francais autant que je puis". The German though I like it extremely I really can't overtake it make any satisfactory progress. It is so difficult and requires so much time to study & so many little pleasant incidents occur in my short life I try to store them all up in my memory and say to myself Oh how much I should like to tell this to my brother my thoughts somehow or other are daily holding some nonsensicall conversation that I almost feel as if I were already safely transplanted with the Antipodes. Sweet, sweet, are the pleasures of hope and the bright immagining of loffty imagination from having to write and striving to be able in some measure to realise your expectations in my improvement. It makes me think and feel as if actually you were the only person upon earth that I had an object in life for and fancy that whatever tends to amuse or gratify me I should have the same effect upon you and wish I could just tell you everything that concerns my pleasures & disappointment. The latter like all people who give way to building "castles in the air". I frequently meet with which must be borne patiently with for without them we would begin to forget the most important duty of our existence which is to glorify our Divine Maker by living a life of devoted piety and living as an example to those who have not had Gospel privileges which we enjoy and as far as in our power lies to strive and cultivate a missionary spirit of holy love piety to do good to our fellow creatures especially those who have not had the light revelation is bountifully bestowed upon them as we have which God in his all wisdom may perhaps now appear to our limited comprehension an impenetrable mystery why so many of ones fellow creatures should be without the greatest of all blessings the word of inspiration from which we derive our hope for the enjoyment of everlasting peace through the atonement made at Calvary for all who through grace can discern with an eye of [crossed out] faith ... love. The awful sacrifice made without which we as poor sinful lost perishable souls could have no hope beyond the justice of an offended Jehovah.

When sitting quietly one afternoon writing this letter and several others Lady Boswell's daughter Mrs Nassal called upon me to come off immediately with her in the coach to attend my sister Catherine who was laid up with a severe attack of rheumatic fever and here I am watching by her bedside of extreme suffering with much anxiety though the Dr says it is not going to be a tedious attack still her acute pains seem to be reducing her constitution which is not very robust to a serious extent. The kindness of her dear old lady is unbounded and all the other members of the family. Everything that can possibly be thought or heard of to alleviate her distress is instantly procured. It is impossible for me to express sufficiently their assiduous untiring attention & occurring during the holidays I have not yet lost many of my lessons. The Dr said today that he thought towards the end of the week she would be able to leave her room merely for a short time so as to get change of air. I will then feel more at liberty to leave her and begin my duties. I wrote Uncle to enquire if he had any prospect of being in Edinburgh this winter that he might have an opportunity of seeing and hearing how I was progressing which to you would be more gratifying to hear from him than either of us to which he gratefully replied by giving me a kind invitation to Glenorchy as he does not expect soon to be in town. The most correct way of informing you how I am circumstance is by sending a circular of the school which C has had in her possession for some months and it has got a little soiled of course I do not attend all the masters that are there mentioned nor do I pay quite so high a board. Cath says that she thinks I will be quite long enough there at the end of this quarter but I should like to remain till you or one of my brothers sent for me to go to NZ. We had cheering accounts from Archy lately and we are all very much relieved to hear that he seems to have found as an agreeable employment as sailing on the uncertain billows of the fearless ocean. I wish very much that his wife were enabled to join him soon for she is such a sensible prudent person and one whom I know you yourself would value much. It is necessary to have an economical housewife to superintend in the household affairs of a farm. Now my dear brother this letter is hurriedly and improperly written but I cannot write in order it is late at night and I am very very tired and also the mail goes tomorrow. Wishing yourself and dear little Douglas the usual happy compliments of the season, I remain
My dear brother

Your fondly attached


Annabella McLean

The old address is the more correct
13 Howe Street
Edinburgh

Part of:
Inward family correspondence - Annabella McLean (sister), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0816 (50 digitised items)
Series 9 Inwards family letters, Reference Number Series 9 Inwards family letters (1204 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

Usage: You can search, browse, print and download items from this website for research and personal study. You are welcome to reproduce the above image(s) on your blog or another website, but please maintain the integrity of the image (i.e. don't crop, recolour or overprint it), reproduce the image's caption information and link back to here (http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=1021903). If you would like to use the above image(s) in a different way (e.g. in a print publication), or use the transcription or translation, permission must be obtained. More information about copyright and usage can be found on the Copyright and Usage page of the NLNZ web site.

External Links:
View Full Descriptive Record in TAPUHI

Leave a comment

This function is coming soon.

Latest comments